It is good to know that your boat can get holes. The hole may be caused by a floating object in the water or a rock as you transport it on the highway. Do you know any significant damage to your boat can affect its overall performance in the water?
There is no doubt that marine lovers can want to know some tips on how to repair a boat. What is the essence of knowing how to repair a boat by yourself? You will return to water as soon as possible. It is straightforward to fix a hole if you own metal or wooden boat. In such cases, all that you need to do is welding or nailing a board over the hole.
People prefer fiberglass boats simply because they are easy to repair. Do you know that you can easily repair a hole the size of a domestic fridge? The hull will even be stronger than it was before. Keep in mind that these repairs do not involve rocket science. You just need to have some manual dexterity and the willingness to think in three dimensions.
In most cases, repairs become difficult more so when the damaged area is inaccessible. It can also be a tough task repairing holes located in an awkward corner. Color matching the gel coating will be a real challenge unless you intend to paint over the repair. In this article, we will look at the best ways to repair your boat.
It is good to keep in mind that there are two main types of resins available for repairs. They include epoxy and polyester. Fortunately, all the repairs in this article can be done using either of them.
Most GRP models have been manufactured from resin material. Typically, this material is supplied in a pre-existing manner. It has been manufactured with a one-year shelf life. It is straightforward to start the curing process. You are required to mix in a small amount of catalyst. The main downside of using this material is that it cures by as much as 4%. This can bring a huge strain as you repair your boat. It has been discovered that this material can repair only a quarter of the area when compared to the equivalent amount of epoxy.
In addition, well known marine technicians have discovered that the material adhesive qualities, especially in wood, are not exactly brilliant. That being said, be guaranteed that this material is cheap and effective to use.
On the other hand, epoxy has been considered as one of the best materials that can be used in repairing boats. It not only needs to be light but also it should easily bond with other materials. The best thing about this material is that it has minimal shrinkage. It is also a powerful adhesive. You should mix the resin in small amounts with the hardener. Keep in mind that any mistakes done can easily weaken the mixture. The downside comes to affordability. Away from that, this material is sensitive to high temperatures. Usually, the hardening process will stop below 5 degrees. Holes in the gel are not always accidental. All in all, you require these materials as you repair your boat.
In order to patch the hole, you are required to purchase a quart-size polyester fiberglass repair kit. You should consider purchasing it from a reputable marine store or even from the manufacturer. The gel should match the color of the boat. What if you are not finding a reliable repair kit that has been made from polyester resin? In such situations, you should go for a rubbing compound to finish the repair.
Enlarging the hole is the first step in preparing a firm base for the patch. From there, you should enlarge the hole. This will allow you to firm it. The best tool in such situations can be a drill. Also, a disc has proved to be reliable.
You should taper the ground hole out into the sound hull once you have exposed the sound fiberglass all around the hole. This means that the outside edge will be 3 inches wider than the inside edge. What is the essence of doing this? This process is essential more so when it comes to providing a firm bonding surface for the patching material.
After sanding the hole completely, you should wipe the dust around the hole. You can use a soft cloth to do that. From there, you should clean the damaged area with a cloth that has been soaked in acetone. When using acetone, keep in mind that it is flammable. With that in mind, you are advised to work in a well-ventilated area. In addition, you should avoid smoking when using acetone. The cloth saturated in acetone solution should be disposed of immediately after being used.
The main essence of doing this is to make the hull match. You can achieve that by simply using a perfectly shaped board. You can use plastic wrap to cover the piece of cardboard. Make sure that it is tapped into place. This ensures that the patch does not stick to it. To match the curve of the hull, carefully bend the cardboard. From there, use tape to firm it in place. The patch will be weak in case the curve cardboard does not match the hull contour.
Prepare the patching material
Preparing the patching material is the next step you should take immediately after the hole is backed. Fill the hole to the thickness of the hull. You should cut the top layer from ½ fiberglass cloth. The essence of doing this is to ensure that they match the hull surface. From there, you should consider cutting the layers. The layer should perfectly fit inside the diameter of the hole.
To overlap the inside layers, you are required to cut larger layers. In the process, you should ensure that you have perfectly done the edges. Cut the layers as you combine them. After you have got enough layers of roving, you should make it equal with the already made hull surface. That’s where the fiberglass comes in. The fiberglass should be cut in a way that completes the patch perfectly. It should overlap the hull surface.
Lay the pieces of roving
It is not all about laying the pieces of roving. They should be laid in order, preferably on a clean surface. Before you do it, the patching material should be in hand. Now, this is the right time to mix the polyester and resin. The instructions on how to mix are included by the manufacturer. You are supposed to mix the resin in excess. Make sure that you mix it within 30 minutes simply because it is known to harden quickly. In addition, as you mix, you should ensure that the surrounding temperature is at least 60 degrees F.
Set the patch
The process of setting up the patch should be quick and straightforward. Catalyzed resin should be added immediately after setting up the patch. You can use a paintbrush to apply the resin. Also, the resin should be thoroughly soaked. It is good to keep the roving wet but not dripping. Afterward, you are required to pick the piece of wet roving. Fill it into the prepared hole in the hull. Using a brush, you should press it smoothly into place. Clean the area with acetone to remove all the dust. Gel coat is the best to finish the patch.
Let the gel dry for at least 8 hours
Most gel manufacturers recommend that the gel should be left to dry for at least 8 hours. You can remove the plastic coating when the gel coat is completely dry. Using dry sandpaper, hand-sand to remove excess gel coat. After that, you can use fine dry sandpaper to remove any scratches. In the process, the gel might be scratched. To prevent that from happening, you are supposed to use water.
Finally, this is the perfect time to rebuild the hull area. You should do it thoroughly with a wet cloth.
Note: make sure you do not neglect the safety when handling power tools
There are many situations where a boat can get a hole. At times, it might be hard to find an experienced boat technician. Fortunately, that should not worry you. As you can see, the process of repairing a boat is easy to follow. You don’t have to be a marine technician to seal the hole in your boat. Just follow this easy process, and you will be good to go. All in all, we hope that you will find this article beneficial when your boat is damaged. If you have any questions regarding repairing a hole in your boat, don’t hesitate to ask our team.